Definition of anal-retentive in US English:



  • (of a person) excessively orderly and fussy (supposedly owing to conflict over toilet-training in infancy).

    • ‘The mechanics at Hawk are very good at getting them absolutely immaculate, just the way I like them because they are the kind of anal-retentive people like me who like to get the bike so it's clean enough to eat your dinner off.’
    • ‘A sleeper hit in Britain, Leaves has managed to bring both professional editors and amateur anal-retentive sticklers out of the closet to exalt the splendor of semicolons, the cunning of commas, the debonair of the dash.’
    • ‘And here's the proof: a glorious four-CD retrospective that gathers album tracks, B-sides and rarities for fans and anal-retentive obsessives alike - and it's a joy.’
    • ‘He knew from experience not to try to force others into the same anal-retentive habits he had.’
    • ‘You've gotta be a micromanaging, anal-retentive control freak.’


also anal retentive
  • A person who is excessively orderly and fussy.

    • ‘The lyrics are at once sensitive, dramatic, and tragic, but so entertaining that even the anal-retentive could lose themselves in the sheer buzz of it all.’
    • ‘The stuff you buy is the old pure beer, brewed and fermented by anal-retentives from ancient recipes.’
    • ‘The last couple of weeks have seen my routine disrupted, which is traumatic for us anal-retentives.’
    • ‘Now there's an anal-retentive if I ever saw one.’
    • ‘But, once again, we're just being anal-retentives so don't mind us.’


  • anal retentiveness

      • ‘His anal retentiveness - he must, must, MUST wipe the seat every time he sits down at their local coffee house - and perfect timing makes him one of the most endearing characters in television history.’
      • ‘‘Not to stereotype accountants, but it's good to have that anal retentiveness in the way that we look at stocks,’ says Fort.’
      • ‘I can't even begin to think of anything to say about this, but thought I would offer it up to the greater glory of anal retentiveness in all its myriad and glorious forms.’
      • ‘Her short and sweet set consisted of three numbers: three funny, neurotic anecdotes about cats, anal retentiveness and the apocalypse.’
      • ‘Indeed, I would like to see a Freudian interpretation of social values related to constipation that particularly explores anal retentiveness and the use of dilators, vibrators and colonic irrigation as methods of prevention and cure.’



/ˈeɪnl riˈtɛntɪv/